(January 8, 2019 / JNS) The European Union on Tuesday sanctioned an Iranian intelligence unit and a few members of its staff, as Holland accused the Islamic Republic of two murders in 2015 and 2017 on Dutch soil, joining Denmark and France, which have alleged that the regime planned other attacks last year in Europe.
This marks the first time that the world body has issued sanctions on Iran since lifting penalties on it three years ago following the 2015 Iran deal.
One of the sanctioned members of the Iranian Intelligence Service is in prison in Belgium.
“EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its assassination plots on European soil,” tweeted Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. “Strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior in Europe.”
Important day for European Foreign Policy! EU just agreed to enact sanctions against an Iranian Intelligence Service for its assassination plots on European soil. Strong signal from the EU that we will not accept such behavior in Europe.
— Anders Samuelsen (@anderssamuelsen) January 8, 2019
The American Jewish Committee’s Transatlantic Institute, based in Belgium, applauded the move.
“For far too long, the Iranian regime has gotten away with its criminal and terrorist activities on European soil. Today’s move by the E.U. Council to impose sanctions on the responsible unit at the intelligence ministry in Tehran and two individuals is a promising signal,” said its director, Daniel Schwammenthal. “European governments finally broke the deafening diplomatic silence that had been festering ever since the regime began its campaign of assassinations and terror plots in Europe.”
“Due to the seriousness of Iran’s crimes, the newest round of E.U. sanctions can only be the first step toward a comprehensive review of the bloc’s relationship with the Islamic Republic,” he said. “In particular, European governments ought to join forces with the U.S. in confronting Iran’s expanding ballistic-missile program and urgently do away with its artificial distinction between Hezbollah’s so-called ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings to finally list the entire organization and ban its activities in Europe.”